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Charles C. Adams, George P. Burns, T. L. Hankixson, Barrington Moore, and 

Norman Taylor 


IV. Plants and Animals 204 

The fir forest 204 

Lower limit of the fir forest at 4,250 feet 205 

Vertebrates of the fir forest 206 

Bog at east end of Lake Tear, 4,320 feet 209 

Dwarf fir forest just below timber line at 4,890 feet 212 

Alpine zone, 4,920-5,344 feet 216 

IV. Plants and Animals 

Part I of this paper, published in Vol. 1, No. 2, of Ecology, contained a 
general account of the topography, geology and climate of Mount Marcy, 
the general features of the plants and animals, and the instrumental data on 
the local environment of the habitats studied, but the details and ecological 
relationship of each was left for Part II. 

There are certain definite types of vegetation, corresponding with defi- 
nite habitats, in which the instrumental stations were placed. A descrip- 
tion of what plants and animals live in these habitats is here presented, not 
only as a record and to be correlated with our instrumental data, but to 
trace as far as possible the history of the mountain biota and intermingling 
of species. 

The Fir Forest. — The forest is practically continuous except for two 
openings of much ecological significance, the bog at Lake Tear, which is a 
depression, and the alpine summit, an elevation. 

The belt of forest considered in this study is that growing between 
4,250 and 4,900 feet in elevation, its lower limit distinguished by the disap- 
pearance of red spruce, Picea rubens, and its upper limit by timber line. It 
may be considered as a single vegetative unit composed of almost pure fir, 
Abies balsamea, with only a small admixture of paper birch, Betula papyri- 
fera, but there is a marked difference in the height and diameter of the trees. 
At 4,250 feet the average mature firs approximate 40 to 45 feet by 8 to 10 
inches in diameter at breast height ; at timber line they do not exceed 7 to 
12 feet in height by 5 inches (average about 3) in diameter. The change 
is not uniform, and stunting not very noticeable below elevations of about 
4,500 feet. The stand is more nearly even-aged than would be expected 
with fir, and is on the whole mature. Younger trees are, however, found 
throughout. Reproduction is abundant in all the openings. 



The value of this forest is for watershed protection, and scientific and 
scenic interest. Although trees large enough to be merchantable occur up 
to about 4,500 to 4,600 feet, the steepness and roughness of the slopes would 
make exploitation difficult and probably unprofitable. 

Lower Limit of Fir Forest. — The point selected for this station is about 
half way from the place marked Camp (it is only a camping site) on the 
topographic sheet, on the trail from Upper Ausable Lake to the summit of 
Marcy, and the intersection of this trail with one leading to Mt. Skylight. 
At this place the grade is steep and the woods dense, so dense in fact that 
or! the trail one has to cut one's way. 

The forest at this point, which appears to be typical of thousands of 
acres with similar conditions, is composed of about 85 percent Abies bal- 
samea, 10 percent Betula papyrifera, and 5 percent Picea rubens. Practi- 
cally no deciduous shrubs are found as undergrowth, which is characterized 
by many young plants of the fir, a few of the birch, and a very small pro- 
portion of the spruce. Nearly all the trees at this point average approxi- 
mately 40-45 feet high. 

Under the dense shade of such woods the forest floor, nearly shrubless 
except in clearings, is a deep carpet of mosses, save where the moss gives 
way to a thick mat of needles and litter. The mosses are chiefly Sphagnum 
acutifolium, Hypnum Schreberi, Dicranum scoparium and Dicranum longi- 
folium. On the higher parts of this moss carpet, on rocks and on tree 
stumps, is Cladonia rangiferina, a lichen so common that it adds a gray 
tone to the somber woods. This is still more true as one ascends to higher 

The absence of tree reproduction as well as of herbs and shrubs under 
the dense coniferous canopy has been commonly attributed to lack of light. 
Unquestionably light is important, but is not the only factor, for the soil 
moisture is considerably less under a thick canopy than in small openings. 
This lower moisture content has been found, in some cases at least, to be 
even more important than lack of light. 17 

Upon the forest floor of mosses and lichens the dominant herb is Cornus 
canadensis, its scarlet berries very abundant on August 22. Next to it in 
frequency is easily Solid ago macro phylla, in full flower at this time. These 
two plants often make up the almost exclusive growth in the shade of the 

17 Moore, Barrington, " Reproduction in the Coniferous Forests of Northern New 
England," Bot. Gaz., Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 149-158, 1917 (see especially p. 156). Burns 
found in Northern Michigan that openings which were filled with young sugar maple 
(Acer saccharum) had more soil moisture as well as more light and more heat. He 
further found, in unpublished experiments made in a forest nursery in Vermont, that 
an abundant moisture supply counterbalanced the shade produced by six thicknesses 
of cheese-cloth. R. E. Horton (Mon. Weath. Rev. 47: 603-623, 1919, Science, 51: 439, 
1920) found the interception of precipitation by trees to be " about 25 percent as an 
average constant rate for most trees in heavy rains of long duration." The average 
of 11 trees in the summer of 1918 was 40 percent. 


trees, but scattered through them are other species, notably Oxalis Aceto- 
sella, which is often locally dominant. 

Other plants in this forest, arranged in the order of their frequency are 

Linncea amcricana China lati folia 

Chiogenes hispidula Aralia nudicaulis 

Coptis trifolia Lyco podium annotinum 

Monotropa uniflora Rubus strigosus (in more open places) 

Clint onia borealis Ribes glandulosum 

Car ex intumescens Streptopus roseus 

V actinium augustifolium Dryopteris dilatata 

Viola (sp. no flowers or fruit) Osmunda Claytoniana 

In quite open places are occasional shrubs of Amelanchier spicata, about 
3-4 feet high, but these are scarcely known from the deeper part of the 

While the upper limit of red spruce is the deciding characteristic of this 
area, the fact remains that there is here a curious welding of floral elements 
from above and below. No true alpine plants have come down from the 
top to this region, for there is scarcely one of the plants listed which could 
not be found in the upper level of the Catskills. Yet the shade, the very 
existence of the habitat which these woodland plants demand is provided 
by the fir which here makes up 85 percent of the forest. Down the moun- 
tain a little further this fir meets stronger competition of the red spruce, 
which becomes dominant still lower down. So far as the forest is con- 
cerned, the red spruce practically gives way at 4> 2 5° feet to the fir. It is a 
good illustration of the herbs of moderate elevations (for the Adirondacks) 
running well ahead of their natural shade, the red spruce, through the 
mingling of spruce and fir, and up through the fir to the very edge of the 
timber line. Yet not one true alpine plant has penetrated down through 
the fir forest to this level. 

The fir, which is found in protected places, almost to the summit of 
Marcy, hundreds of feet above timber line, successfully meets the compe- 
tion of lower-elevation trees, showing an adaptability to diverse conditions 
immeasurably greater than its herbaceous associates on the summit which 
are unknown in these woods. 

Conversely most of the plants associated with this upper limit of the 
spruce, denizens on the whole of lower elevations, seem perfectly at home at 
this level. Their frequency of occurrence is different at different eleva- 
tions above this, but not many of those listed fail to reach the topmost limits 
of the forest. More will be said of this in the discussion of the forest-floor 
vegetation just below timber line, and of the vegetation above that point. 

Vertebrates of the Fir Forest. — For comparison with the fir forest of 
the higher altitudes the following brief summary of recorded observations on 
the mixed hardwood area are of special interest. 


While passing along the stream bed between the Upper and the Lower 
Ausable Lakes, two Deer, Odocoileus americanus borealis Miller, were seen ; 
one was a fawn about half-grown. It is likely that many species of birds 
are present in the lower forest. Eaton 18 (pp. 42-50) describes the bird life 
of the Marcy region as he noted it in the early part of the summer of 1905, 
and found over a hundred species of birds nesting within ten miles of the 
mountain (p. 50). Since, although the forest cover is continuous, less than 
30 species of birds nest above the hardwood zone (2,500 feet), it is very 
probable that most of these species are practically confined to the mountain 
base and that this is the chief bird habitat of Mount Marcy. 

Miller 19 records over thirty species of mammals from Essex County, 
New York, and most of these from the lowland areas, principally from 
Elizabethtown. Very probably most of these species live on Mount Marcy. 
Other birds were noted here, but these were not clearly enough seen for 
identification. Most of these were warblers. 

Above the hardwoods in the fir forest a small flock of perhaps a dozen 
white-winged crossbills, Loxia leucoptera, flew to some tree tops near our 
camp. Red-breasted nuthatches, Sitta canadensis, were often heard. In 
Eaton's account (loc. cit., pp. 42-50) the following species were found on 
the upper part of Mount Marcy above 4,000 feet, and undoubtedly in the 
growth of tall balsams and red spruces : Arctic three-toed woodpecker, 
Picoides arcticus, three-toed woodpecker, Picoides americanus americanus, 
blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata cristata, Canada jay, Perisoreus canadensis 
canadensis, slate-colored junco, Junco hyemalis hyemalis, black and white 
warbler, Mniotilta varia, myrtle warbler, Dendroica coronata, pine warbler, 
Dendroica vigorsi, winter wren, N annus hiemalis hiemalis, red-breasted nut- 
hatch, Sitta canadensis, Acacjian chickadee, Penthestes hudsonitus litt oralis, 
golden-crown kinglet, Regulus saprapa saprapa, ruby-crowned kinglet, Reg- 
ulus calendula calendula, Bicknell's thrush, Hylocichla alicice bicknelli, olive- 
backed thrush, Hylocichla ustulata swainsoni, hermit thrush, Hylocichla 
guttata pallasi, and robin, Planesticus migratorius migfatorius. 

Of these species the following were found by Eaton breeding on Marcy 
between altitudes of 3,900 feet and 4,300 feet: Three-toed woodpecker, 
winter wren, black and white warbler, olive-backed thrush, and hermit 
thrush. Undoubtedly a number of other species use the tall conifer zone 
for nesting, where one important condition at least, namely seclusion, can 
be readily found. On account of the density of the cover and the extensive- 
ness of this balsam forest, little was learned of the birds and other verte- 
brates of the region in our limited time. Juncoes, golden-crowned kinglets, 

18 Eaton, E. H., "Birds of New York," Memoir 12, Part 1, New York State 
Musepm, pp. 1-501, 1910. 

19 Miller, G. S., "Preliminary List of New York Mammals," Bull. N. Y. State 
Mus., Vol. 6, No. 29, pp. 271-390, 1899. See also " Key to Land Mammals of North- 
eastern North America," 1. c., Vol. 8, No. 38, pp. 59-160, 1900. 


and myrtle warblers were abundant and prominent, and the notes of some 
of these birds were heard at almost all times during good weather about our 
camp, and along the trail near it. 

During the few days of field work little evidence of mammal life was 
noted in the region of tall balsams. Some deer tracks were seen along the 
trail not far from camp, and we were told by guides that the region is fre- 
quented by many deer on account of its relative inaccessibility to hunters. 
A little trapping was done for small mammals in the woods near camp, 
with wooden mouse traps, baited with bacon and corn meal. A white- 
footed mouse, Peromyscas maniculatus gracilis (LeConte), and two red- 
backed mice, Evotomys gapperi gapperi (Vigors), were taken. 

There are very few published records of mammals occurring in this 
high coniferous forest on Marcy. Colvin 20 (p. 366) reports tracks of a 
panther, Felis couguar Kerr, near Lake Tear, and from these tracks and 
those of varying hares he inferred that the panther was hunting hares. He 
also records martens, Martes americana americana (Turton), in forests on 
the side of Mount Marcy, but says they do not occur above the timber line. 
He notes that they also destroy hares. Tracks in snow made by a small 
shrew were noted by him; these he considered to be (( Sorex personatus," 
an inference which is probably correct, since Batchelder writes that the 
masked shrew, Sorex personatus personatus Geoffrey, is apparently com- 
mon there and found anywhere on the mountain. Colvin also notes tracks 
of ermine, Mustela noveboracensis noveboracensis Emmons (p. 369), also 
fisher, Martes pennanti pennanti (Erxleben), and lynx, Lynx canadensis 
canadensis Kerr (p. 367). The later was near Lake Tear and also evidently 
hunting hares. He reports the common red squirrel (probably Sciurus hud- 
conicus loquax Bangs) at 4,000 feet elevation feeding on seeds of spruce 
(P- 37°) > and he saw (p. 172) a bear, Ursus americanus americanus Pallas, 
near the headwaters of John's Brook, on the northeast side of Mount 

Mr. C. F. Batchelder in a letter writes of taking the red-backed mouse, 
Evotomys gapperi gapperi Vigors, masked shrew, Sorex personatus per- 
sonatus Geoffrey, and rock vole, Microtus chrotorrhinus chrotorrhinus 
(Miller), in the tall conifer region on the upper part of Mount Marcy. The 
latter was probably taken here, but possibly in the region higher up. 

A frog was heard about the grassy stream border near camp and a 
glimpse was had of it. Very probably it was Rana pipiens Gmelin. A 
toad, Bufo lentiginosus americanus (Holbrook) Cope, was taken along the 
trail at about 4,500 feet. No other amphibians or reptiles were seen, 
although special search was made, and at the time of observations weather 
conditions seemed favorable for these animals ; but the short time of exist- 
so Colvin, V., " Seventh Annual Report of the Topographical Survey of the 
Adirondack Region of New York, to the Year 1879," Albany, 1880. 


ence of these conditions (two or three months during the year) probably 
prevents amphibians living permanently at high altitudes on Mount Marcy. 
Warm-blooded vertebrates can withstand long periods of cold weather, and 
the dense forest cover here is undoubtedly a very favorable condition for 
giving them protection from enemies and from storms. There is food here 
for birds and mammals. Insects and seeds of conifers, and the seeds and 
fruits of the undergrowth are present. The following common plants here 
have fruits available for animals: Abies balsamea, Comas canandensis, 
Oxalis Acetosella, Uni folium canadense, Clintonia borcalis, Amelanchier 
spicata, Potentilla tridentata and Trientalis am eric ana. 

Bog at East End of Lake Tear, 4,320 Feet. — This lake of perhaps two 
acres is the chief source of the Hudson River, and the highest permanent 
body of water in the State (see fig. 5 in Part I). Its eastern end is bor- 
dered by a bog of about 10 acres in extent which, in heavy rains, is some- 
times nearly drowned. The lake, sheltered from the wind, beautifully re- 
flects the forest of fir which surrounds it on three sides. The steep ever- 
green-clothed slope of the surrounding terrain makes an admirable setting 
for this little mountain lake which has drawn cries of astonishment at its 
beauty from Colvin, Roosevelt and hosts of less renowned visitors. No 
aquatic flowering plants are found in the lake, the short growing season 
and the cold water probably preventing their establishment. On August 20 
the water at 3 feet deep was 50.5° F. 

The bog is not quite level and has a slow-moving, poorly draining stream 
flowing through it from the eastward toward the lake. This stream is 
irregular in its meanderings, of varying depth, and frequently is lost under 
the mass of bog plants that bridges over its course. Due to changes of level 
in the water, local irregularities of the surface, boulders that are covered 
by vegetation, and thus perched above the general water level, and to 
mounds that support trees, there are several different types of plants grow- 
ing in the bog and they are associated in different ways. 

In that part of the bog nearest the lake and to water level, perhaps an 
irregular band of 20-40 feet, the dominant plant, which makes a close mat 
or turf on Sphagnum is Car ex oligospermia, a far northern species unknown 
in the Catskills, but here making dense growths. It was fruiting freely in 
the lower parts of the bog, only sparingly so on higher parts. Scattered 
through the sedge are a few plants of Calamagrostis ncglecta, a grass not 
reported heretofore from New York State. It fruits very sparingly nearest 
the water level of the lake, but higher up in the bog numerous fruiting speci- 
mens were noted. With this grass are also scattered patches of Carex inte- 
rior, a freely fruiting sedge found quite down to the water's edge. This 
turf -like growth of grasses and sedges which is often 8-12 inches high has 
a lower story of vegetation flat down on the Sphagnum and usually half 
hidden by the stems of the grasses and sedges. This ground-hugging ele- 


ment of vegetation is Oxycoccus Oxycoccus and Andromeda polifolia, never 
over 3-4 inches high. Very rarely are there plants of Gentiana linearis, 
elsewhere common on the upper reaches of Marcy. This lowest part of 
the bog is practically composed of two sedges, a grass, a cranberry and the 
wild rosemary. Only one of these plants, Car ex interior, is known in any 
quantity from lower elevations. The other species, even if found at more 
moderate elevations, have all come from greater ones, and as we shall see, 
are common on top of Marcy, except Andromeda polifolia. So far as our 
records show, they are unknown between the level of Lake Tear and the 
timber line. 

Perhaps three fifths of the total area of the bog, while practically level, 
is a few inches above that just described and contains somewhat different 
species of plants and quite different proportions of those common to both. 
Here again it is a turf-like growth but the dominant plant is Calamagrostis 
neglecta which fruits very freely. The sub-dominant plant is Andromeda 
polifolia while scattered through it and rather common, is Gentiana linearis. 
In isolated clumps are scattered plants of Veratrum viride, which is not 
infrequent. Less frequent and somewhat sporadic in their distribution are 
some low woody plants and a few herbs. Arranged in the order of their 
frequency they are : 

Lonicera coerulea Carex oligosperma (not in fruit here) 

Vaccinium uliginosum Potentilla trident at a 

Vaccinium ccespitosum Houstonia coerulea 

Chamcedaphne calyculata Ledum groenlandicum 

Oxycoccus Oxycoccus Coptis trifolia 

Towards the upper or southeastern end of the bog are a few scattered 
trees of Abies balsamea, about ten in all. They are well separated from one 
another and from the fir forest along the edge of the bog, and are usually 
growing on mounds of Sphagnum a foot or two above the general level. 
Seedlings of the fir, where the general level is not too low, are common 

(%• 15). 

Besides these mounds which are crowned with firs, there are several 
without trees on them, usually scattered boulders now quite covered with 
vegetation which is well above the general water level of the bog. These 
mounds contain all the plants so far recorded from the bog, with the addi- 
tion of Chio genes hispidula, Linncea americana, Trientalis americana, Spi- 
rcea latifolia, Unifolium canadensis, and Drosera rotundifolia, which is rare. 
On one such mound in the extreme northeastern corner of the bog, the rock 
is covered almost exclusively by Empetrum nigrum (fig. 15). The occur- 
rence of this and a few other plants already noted in this bog, hundreds of 
feet below the bare summit of Marcy, which is in plain view, but separated 
by an unbroken fir forest, is interesting. It may well be that the occurrence 


21 I 

of this crow-berry and of Lonicera cocrulea, Vaccinium ccespitosum, Vac- 
cinium uliginosum, and Calamagrostis neglecta, in this bog at 4,320 feet is 
the lowest elevation from which they are known in the Adirondacks. Our 
records from other sides of Marcy show some of them only above the timber 
line which is at about 4,900 feet. All except the grass were found on Mt_ 
Mclntyre at 4,800 feet, but only rarely, usually growing at greater elevations,, 
and nowhere below the timber line. This little island of alpine and sub- 
alpine plants, evidently in a locally favorable habitat, surrounded by a dense 

Fig. 15. Crowberry, Empetrum nigrum, growing on a boulder in Lake Tear bog; 
watch as a scale. Note also the young balsam fir. 

fir forest, apparently isolated, and at a considerably lower elevation than the 
ecologically related plants above the timber line, was the deciding factor in 
choosing this bog as one of the critical points in the response of the plants 
and animals of Marcy to their environment. 

At the extreme eastern end of the bog is a long tongue of land, slightly 
higher than the low end towards the lake. This is covered almost exclu- 
sively by Calamagrostis canadensis, which grows luxuriantly up to 3 feet 
tall and fruits freely. The bog is peculiar in that no Juncaceco and no 
Orchidacece were found in it. They may occur there, but if so they are so 
infrequent as to make up only a minute fraction of the vegetation. That is 
true, also, of other plants that are not here recorded from the region. 


Collections of invertebrates from the eastern side of the bog, near our 
thermometers (fig. 5 in Part I) gave the following: spiders, Pardosa nigri- 
palpis Em. {canadensis Black) and Epeira trivittata Em., several grasshop- 
pers, Melanoplus atlanis Riley, Melanoplus femur-rubrum DeG., Podisma 
glacialis glacialis Scudd. and Chart hip pus curtipennis Harr., a psyllid, Psylta 
strata Patch ( ?), a psocid, Psocus confratemus Bks., and the bumble bees, 
Bombus terricola Kby. and Bombus fervidus Fab. There were numerous 
young of the grasshopper, Chorthippus curtipennis in the low vegetation. 
It is evident that the spider {Epeira) and insects are mainly species which 
live in the open, rather than in the forest. The presence of Podisma here, 
as well as in the alpine zone, is worthy of special mention on account of its 
similarity to the case of Empetrum. Colvin (loc. cit., p. 130) refers to the 
small aquatic bivalve molluscs, Sphcerium Occident ale Prine and Pisidium 
abditum Hald., from Lake Tear. Colvin (p. 130) also refers to seeing tad- 
poles of frogs in this lake. 

The artificial opening at our camp, made by the many visitors to the top 
of Marcy, provided a small open area where a few invertebrates were taken. 
These were a dragon fly, 2Eschna eremita Scudd., the daddy-long-legs, Mito- 
pus montanus Bks., which abounded about our lean-to, and a spider, Steatoda 
borealis Hentz. Along the Marcy trail just above camp a horntail, Sirex 
cyaneus Fab., was taken. 

The few openings in the coniferous forest were especially attractive to 
birds, for they appeared to be more abundant at our camp clearing and at 
Lake Tear than in the dense forest through which the trails passed. This 
was very noticeable in case of juncoes and golden-crowned kinglets. Eaton 
(loc. cit., p. 42) notes a decided preference for slashings, clearing, burnt 
areas and swamps, on the part of all but fifteen species, which seem to tol- 
erate the thick forest more than others ; but even these show some prefer- 
ence for openings. Of these fifteen birds the following occur in the upper 
part of the balsam covered slopes : Olive-backed thrush, hermit thrush, red- 
billed nuthatch, brown creeper, Ccrthia familiaris americana, winter wren, 
myrtle warbler, blue jay and the Canadian ruffed grouse. Colvin (loc. cit., 
p. 130) mentions a "couple of snipe, which seemed to make their summer 
home by the shores " of Lake Tear. 

Dwarf Fir Forest Just Below Timber Line, 4,890 Feet. — In going up 
the trail from Lake Tear, or on the other trails up the mountain, the fir forest 
becomes progressively lower as we approach timber line. The line of demar- 
cation between unbroken forest and alpine vegetation is very sudden as there 
may be stunted fir trees 7-12 ft. tall at one point, and not 25 feet from 
them, an unbroken alpine fell-field with only much battered and isolated 
trees scattered through it, in locally protected places. But as defined else- 
where in this paper, the timber line is the upper limit of continuous forest, 
and at this point the trees are only 7-12 ft. tall. They are thick, however. 


relatively old, and so frequent that off the trail it is difficult to force a pas- 
sage (figs. 6-7 in Part I). Almost no other tree is found associated with 
Abies balsamea, and only occasionally are there stunted paper birches, Be- 
tula papyrifera. The latter have all the indications of wind-swept stunting 
and probably it is mostly to this wind agency that their gnarled appearance 
is due. 

There is no deciduous shrubby undergrowth of any sort in the shade of 
these sturdy little firs, the forest floor being made up mostly of Sphagnum 
acutifolium, Hypnum Schreberi, Dicranum scoparium, and Dicranum longi- 
foliam, and perhaps others. In this soft, mossy cushion, like a sponge for 
holding water, there are a few herbs of which the commonest, the almost 
exclusive one, is Oxalis Acetosella. Next to it in frequency is Clint onia 
borcalis. Among these two herbs there are scattered a few others, which in 
the order of their frequency are : 

Solidago macrophylla CJiiogcncs Jiispidula 

Cornus canadensis Unifolium canadensis 

Linncca americana Ophrys cordata (rare) 

No true alpine alpine plants are found here in these shaded nooks which 
are quite out of the wind, so dense is canopy of the dwarf firs. Yet only 
a stone's throw above is the open bare summit of Marcy with the Lapland 
Rhododendron and the other alpine plants growing in the blazing sun, and 
beaten upon by the full force of the winds. 

This fir forest provides shade for a handful of species of herbs from 
moderate elevations, but not one true alpine plant penetrates down through 
the barrier of timber line. All the species listed are found much farther 
down Marcy, most of them quite down to the valley 3,000 feet below. 
Oxalis Acetosella is the dominant one, just as it is in the similar fir forest 
on the top of Slide Mountain in the Catskills, which has no alpine vegetation. 

A comparison with the forest floor herbs found at the lower limits of 
the pure fir shows that Cornus canadensis is there the dominant herb, here 
replaced by Oxalis Acetosella. Solidago macrophylla in both places is com- 
mon, and Linncca and Chiogenes in both places make up a fair proportion 
of the vegetation. But some other herbs that are in the list on page 206 
have not gone up to the edge of the forest, as the wood-sorrel, bunch berry 
and creeping snow-berry have done. Certain herbs of the fir — and lower 
down of the spruce — forest, at home in quiet shady places, their roots in a 
sponge of moss and scarce feeling the terrific winds that blow over the 
mountain, may as we shall see presently, go out over the bare summit 
changed in stature, often in color, and in nearly always habit, but still per- 
sisting and fruiting. Yet the plants typical of the summit, played upon by 
all the forces of an apparently uncongenial habitat, do not meet the condi- 
tions of the region below timber line well enough to be found there. The 


single exception is the bog at Lake Tear, already described. To the dis- 
cussion of the plants of the summit there will be noted the amount and suc- 
cess of this invasion of purely alpine vegetation by these lowland plants. 
The evidence is all that it is the alpine plants that are isolated and being 
gradually crowded by these invaders. 

The invertebrates of the marginal dwarf forest (fig. 7 in Part I) (Field 
Station c) are represented by a single collection. This included certain in- 
sects taken on wing near the tops of the trees, such as black fly, Simulium 
hertipes Fries ( ?), and two syrphids which were taken hovering among the 
balsam branches, Syrphus ribesi Linn, and Melanostoma obscurum Say, and 
the fly, Bibio xanthopus Wied., a characteristic species which hovers in the 
sun about the margins and over the surface of the dwarf forest. In a warm 
sunny moment a loud buzzing attracted attention to several horntails, of 
two species, Sirex cyaneus Fab. and Urocerus albicornis Fab., which were 
flying about among the branches, while from the moss and rotten wood of 
the forest floor was taken an earthworm (Enchyatrid) , spider, Tmeticus 
armatus Bks., a myriopod, Conotyla fischeri Ck., the pupa of a beetle, tipulid 
larvae Tipula, near Ignobalis Low., and small ants, Leptothorax (Mycho- 
thorax) acervorum Nyl., subsp. canadensis Prov. 

Very little is known of the habits and habitats of most of the above listed 
species. The larva of Sirex cyaneus feeds upon the wood of spruce, fir, 
and hemlock. These are thus distinctly forest species. The larvae of allied 
species of Bibio live in forest humus. It seems probable on the whole that 
the collection is distinctly of forest inhabitants. 

While it was shown in Part I that timber line is a quite definite thing on 
the mountain, it was also noted that trees occur in depressions and ravines 
above it and therefore extend the habitat of forest animals well above 
4,900 feet. While these animals live in the dwarf forest, it should not be 
ignored that they are within easy reach of abundant food, for near them, 
on the bare summit of Marcy are numerous plants with edible fruits such as 
blueberry, crowberry, cranberry, etc. Blueberries are eaten by the junco 
(Judd, 21 p. 81), white-throated sparrow (loc. cit., p. 72) and the Canada 
grouse (Judd, 22 p. 39). Forbush 23 (p. 10) lists the crowberry, Empetrum 
nigrum, and the bunch berry, Cornus canadensis, as plants whose fruits are 
attractive to birds. The latter plant is found above as well as below timber 
line. He also notes (loc. cit., p. 15) three species of blueberries, including 
two species found on Marcy, associated with these low conifers : dwarf blue- 
berry, Vaccinium ccespitosum and Vaccinium canadense. The dwarf cran- 

21 Judd, S. D., " The Relation of Sparrows to Agriculture," U. S. Biol. Survey 
Bulletin 15, pp. 1-98, 1901. 

22 Judd, S. D., " The Grouse and Wild Turkeys of the United States and Their 
Economic Value," U. S. Biol. Survey Bull. No. 24, pp. 1-55, 1905. 

23 Forbush, G. H., " Plants that Attract and Shelter Birds and some that Protect 
Cultivated Fruit," Mass. State Dept. of Agr. Dept. Circular 13, pp. 4-29, 1919. 


berry, Oxy coccus Oxy coccus, is listed by Forbush 24 (p. 376) as a plant with 
fruits edible for birds. McAtee 25 (p. 188) includes the dwarf blueberry in 
his list of plants useful in attracting birds. 

Little animal life was noted about these dwarf forests during the few 
days of observation, but birds and mammals, especially those that conceal 
themselves on the approach of man, could very easily be overlooked here, 
and it was almost impossible in walking through the growth to flush or 
" jump " any animal in it. No vertebrate was found that appeared to 
prefer the stunted to the taller forests lower down. The species noted were 
junco, myrtle warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, Dendroica pennsylvanica, 
swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana, and white-throated sparrow, Zopo- 
trichia albicollis. A number of each of the first two were seen, but only 
one each of the others, except the last which was heard only. Eaton 26 re- 
cords the following birds from altitudes where this Krumholtz exists : Junco 
('14, p. 407) ; white-throated sparrow ('io, p. 47) ; pine siskin, Spinus pinus 
('14, p. 279) ; myrtle warbler, Dendroica coronata ('14, p. 407) ; black poll 
warbler, Dendroica striata, and Bicknell's thrush ('14, p. 523) ; and found 
pine siskins breeding in large numbers near the peaks of Mount Skylight 
and Mount Marcy. Since the last named species prefers conifers for nest- 
ing, it undoubtedly used these stunted trees, the only ones in their breeding 
area noted by Eaton. 27 Colvin (loc. cit., p. 371) reports footprints of raven, 
Corvus corax principalis, at 5,000 feet and reports (p. 131) shooting a 
Canada grouse (probably Canachites canadensis canace) in the dwarf forest 
on Mount Skylight. It is probable that there are many of these grouse on 
Mount Marcy at present ; guides testify to this. 

About a dozen mouse traps left out for two nights in this low tree growth 
resulted in getting one red-backed mouse in a dense thicket of conifers near 
Station d, where the trees were about two and a half feet high. Mr. C. F. 
Batchelder in a letter writes that he found this species in the dwarf forest 
region on Mount Marcy. It is probable that the animal is permanently 
established here, at least in the lower part of the area, since the conditions 
favorable for the little animal are present almost everywhere in the dwarf 
forest. These conditions are well described by Batchelder 28 (p. 192) as 

3 4 Forbush, G. H., " Useful Birds and their Protection," Mass. State Board of 
Agr., p. 1-451, 1913. 

25 McAtee, W. L., " Plants useful to Attract Birds and Protect Fruit," Yearbook 
Dept. Agr. for 1909, pp. 185-196, 1909. 

26 Eaton, G. H., " Birds of New York," Memoir 12, Part 2, New York State 
Museum, pp. 1-719, 64 plates, 1914. 

27 Black poll warblers were found breeding near the summit of Mount Marcy and 
other high mountains nearby (Eaton, loc. cit, p. 418). 

28 Batchelder, C. F., " Some Facts in Regard to the Description of Certain Mam- 
mals in New England and Northern New York," Proc. Boston. Soc. Nat. Hist., Vol. 
27, pp. 185-193, 1896. See also Batchelder, C. F., "An Undescribed Shrew of the 
Genus Sorex" Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, Vol. 10, pp. 133-134, 1896. 


follows : " One may look for it with some confidence in almost any large 
tract of wet ground that retains its moisture through the summer, but is not 
subject to serious floods, and which bears a growth of woods sufficiently 
heavy to afford a dense shade, so that the ground beneath, and the roots of 
the trees, are covered with a deep carpet of sphagnum. . . . One of the 
most evident peculiarities of such a spot as this, in Southern New England, 
is that dense shade and abundant evaporation maintain a temperature during 
the hottest summer weather that is far below that of the surrounding coun- 
try." There was food in abundance for red-backed mice in the adjacent 
alpine growth, consisting of (Merriam, 29 p. 271) berries, roots, and bark. 
The blueberries that are found abundantly in that region are very probably 
eaten extensively by the red-backed mouse and other animals of the Krum- 

No other mammals were found in the region of stunted trees, but at one 
place a bed or " form " was found, with droppings beside it, indicating the 
presence of the varying hare, Lepus amcricanus virginianus (Harlan). 
Guides informed us that hares are common in this region. Colvin (loc. cit., 
p. 130), however, thinks that the varying hares taken on Mount Marcy are 
different from those found by him elsewhere in the Adirondacks. He says 
(p. 370) that the range of the species does not appear to be above 5,000 
feet, and he mentions in particular the taking of one on Whiteface Mountain 
at 4,900 feet. Evidently this region gives a favorable habitat for the species, 
which prefers (Seton, 30 p. 627) a growth, " so dense that the fox, the lynx, 
and the wolf have no chance in open chase," and where they have open 
spaces for sun-baths. 

No tracks or other signs of deer were noted in this low conifer growth, 
but deer are found here at times according to the testimony of guides. Col- 
vin (loc. cit., p. 368) found the fisher, Martes pennanti pennanti (Erxleben), 
in the dwarf forests on Mount Marcy, where, he says, they hunt hares. 
Batchelder, in a letter, states that the masked shrew occurs here, as else- 
where on the mountain. 

Alpine Zone 4,920-5,344 Feet. — The summit of Marcy is without forest 
covering, although there are stunted and gnarled trees scattered all over the 
mountain-top in protected places. The vegetation, other than trees, is made 
up of a group of alpine, sub-alpine and other species that are constantly 
subject to destruction, not only by climate, but by sliding boulders and slabs 
of rock. The local erosion cuts small gullies (fig. 19) through existing 
vegetation, and often retards revegetation of older erosion sites. On all 
the steeper slopes of the mountain above timber line are found large areas 

29 Merriam, C. H., " The Mammals of the Adirondack Region," New York, pp. 
1-316, 1886. 

30 Seton, E. T., " Life Histories of Northern Animals," New York, Vol. 1 and 2, 
pp. 1-267, 1909. 



where vegetation is putting up a losing fight to cling to the side of the moun- 
tain. Some ancient and local group of plants, perhaps surrounding a dwarf 
tree (16-20 inches high) that may be 65 years old, will, during a spring 
thaw, be quite suddenly wiped out, leaving the naked site to be subsequently 
invaded. A host of pioneers then come and make ready the conditions that 
will support the climax vegetation which stable erosion conditions show to 
be the final type in the alpine zone (fig. 16). 

Fig. 16. Climax vegetation in the apine zone. 

Upon this conception much of the vegetation of the mountain-top is in 
a constant state of flux, and it might be difficult or impossible to describe or 
conjecture what the ultimate type of vegetation would be, nor the steps that 
lead to that fulfilment. Fortunately there are many less steep places with 
few chances of destruction overtaking them, and in such is developed to 
perfection the typical alpine vegetation. But the accomplishment of this 
state is a tremendously slow and precarious process, and cases of arrested 
development are only too common. The chances of a rock slide many feet 
above such a vegetation climax, diverting a rivulet and thus drying up the 
site, or smothering with sand the edges of it, and all the fortuitous accidents 
that exposure to terrific winds, snow, and fogs and temperature (June 5, 


1919, at the summit the sun temperature out of the wind was 94 ° ; on August 
21, at the camp, 4,300 feet, it was 42 ), these and other accidents all make 
the final climax type of vegetation on the mountain top common enough on 
less steep places, but by no means so common over the whole mountain as 
it is on Mt. Washington. 

The typical vegetation of this region above timber line shows certain 
well-marked characteristics, has certain kinds of plants always in it, and has 
quite definite stages in its development. So much of the mountain top is 
bare rock or loose slabs or boulders, all the soil is from the decomposition 
of such material, described elsewhere in this paper, that the earliest stages 
of vegetative covering are necessarily based upon the occurrence of this soil 

Fig. 17. Early stage in succession in the alpine zone. Deer-hair, Scirpus ccespitosus, 
showing zonation around a seepage spot. 

and a suitable water supply. To go one step backward, the organisms that 
help to break down this rock, and which cover many of them, are the real 
pioneers in the beginning of the vegetative climax. On many rocks other- 
wise quite bare, are to be found Umbilicaria pustulata, followed often by a 
tiny accumulation of mineral soil and then the mosses, Andrecea petrophila 
and Polytrichum strictum. The two latter often make quite considerable 
patches along the edges of great, bare boulders, catching small accumula- 
tions of soil and adding to such tiny pockets, by their own decay, a nucleus 
for the establishment of other plants. Where this accumulation of soil goes 
on long enough to become an inch or two deep and there is available water, 
we have a largely mineral soil, almost invariably occupied by the deer-hair, 
Scirpus ccespitosus (fig. 17). So common are the conditions that sustain 


this sedge that it almost appears as if it were the commonest plant of the 
region, its golden-yellow tips being conspicuous also in many other condi- 
tions than this one in which it is apparently the pioneer. Often growing 
near or on it, and due perhaps to the decomposition of successive genera- 
tions of it, are found Cladonia rangiferina and Sphagnum acutifolium. One 
of the most characteristic features of the mountain-top are the small or 
large cushions of this moss and lichen fringed by Scirpus ccespitosus, and 
supplying a water soaked environment for the more permanent plants that 
come after. Sometimes with the Scirpus ccespitosus, or alone in similar con- 
ditions, Arenaria grocnlandica is to be found. Both of them are to be con- 
sidered pioneers, as the climax type of vegetation hardly ever includes them 
and grows on an acid substratum which these plants do not need and rarely 

The stage following the accumulation of the moss-lichen cushion is fol- 
lowed by V actinium uliginosum, Empetrum nigrum and Oxy coccus Oxy- 
coccus. Where the water supply is fairly near and copious, these plants 
grow luxuriantly and are normally colored, but on drier sites they are red- 
dish or coppery and appear half starved, with poor shriveled fruits. Other 
plants growing in such places are, in the order of their frequency : 

Ledum grocnlandicum Ly cop odium Selago 

V actinium ccespitosum Potentilla trident at a 

Agrostis borealis Chamcedaphne calyculata 

*Cornus canadensis *Unifolium canadense 

*Trientalis americana Solidago Cutleri 
*Betula papyrijera, stunted, not over V actinium canadense 
1 ft. high 

This is fairly typical of the region just above the timber line, and in such 
places, and elsewhere over the mountain-top will be found stunted trees, 
about 15 inches high of Picea mariana, and of the fir, chiefly the latter. 
These are often half smothered by the dense cushion of sphagnum moss 
and the plants growing in it, and it is in the " protection " of these trees that 
most of the plants starred in the list grow. They belong in the forest below 
timber line and out on the bleak summit they usually, but not always, are 
found in the protection of these dwarf trees in ravines. 

The occurrence of the black spruce here at 4,920 feet elevation, and only 
above timber line, where it is common quite up to the summit, is peculiar. 
The same thing occurs on Mt. Skylight, where we collected it only above 
4,800 feet, and on Mt. Mclntyre, where our records show it as not below 
4,700 feet. Diligent search for cones of this spruce on all three mountains 
was rewarded only on Mt. Skylight, where, at 4,800 feet, a single tree, about 
6 feet tall and in a locally protected place, was covered with cones. The 
black spruce is considered by some botanists merely an ecological variation 


of red spruce, Picea rub ens, a stunted form occurring in bogs. In truth the 
distinction is not sharp and the two trees may readily be confused. But 
why should black spruce grow in the bogs at lower elevations (it does not 
grow in the Lake Tear bog at 4,320 feet) , and then reappear on the summits 
above timber line? It is also found, according to Mathews, "Field Book 
of American Trees and Shrubs " (Putnam, 1915), on Mt. Katahdin, Maine, 
at 5,215 feet. It seems that this tree must be added to the list of alpine 
plants which are restricted to the zone above timber line and to certain bogs 
below it. Such plants here find an environment sufficiently rigorous to keep 
out most competitors and to delay the migration which has eliminated them 
from the more favorable places. Unquestionably they are relics of a colder 
flora following the ice, and, this study indicates, are subject to steady en- 
croachment by the lowland plants to-day. 

The rather meagre list of plants characteristic of this alpine zone, that 
is, just above timber line, could be greatly extended by only a slight rise in 
elevation. From 4,920 feet up to the summit at 5,344 feet, there are many 
hundreds of acres, sometimes pure rock slabs nearly bare of vegetation, 
some few deep ravines with trees in them which reach only to the height 
that the protecting rock keeps off the winds, some nearly level alpine fell- 
fields where the flora is more static than elsewhere and alpine species are 
best developed, and many steep slopes where destruction of local habitats 
goes on with rapidity and effectiveness. Depending on location and drain- 
age, protection from wind and snow cover, there are acres of this climax 
type perfectly developed, and many others in the stages of development 
which have been indicated. At slightly higher elevations (5,050 ft.) and 
up to the summit, Diapcnsia Lapponica and Rhododendron Lapponicum 
appear in sufficient quantities to be a noticeable percentage of the vege- 

Two well-marked and rather distinct variations of the typical alpine zone 
of the mountain demand notice, not alone for their curious assemblage of 
plants and animals, but because in them species were found not before re- 
corded from above the timber line. These two localities are : 

I. Dwarf birch meadow at 5,250 ft. 

II. Meadow on S.E. side of mountain at 5,100 ft. 

I. Dwarf Birch Meadow. — The meadow which we have named for this 
shrub, and it is the only place on the mountain where the plant was found, 
is about a quarter of a mile from the summit and on the northeast side of 
the mountain. It is an incipient glacial cirque, the only cirque on the moun- 
tain. On June 5, 1919, a large part of it was covered with snow deep enough 
and packed enough to walk over, and the margins, for 10-15 feet, fringed 
with a nearly exclusive growth of dwarf birch, Betula glandulosa, then in 
full flower (figs. 18 and 19). 



During our second visit to this meadow in August it was found that the 
part uncovered by the melting snow consists almost exclusively of Calama- 
grostis canadensis, and not quite so common Deschampsia flexuosa and 
Carex oligospermia. This coarse turf, one of the ingredients of which is 
the same as for the bog at Lake Tear, is dotted with other plants. Many 
of these are apt to be partly smothered by grass, especially by Calamagrostis 

">v - 




-*K **' "P 

^^^ffc«» V 

1 ■■ 

BIB 1 1 


L_i . : 


£- — _^I '-i-N . .... I 

Fig. i8. Dwarf Birch Meadow from above, showing fringe of Betula glandulosa in 
the foregroung. This meadow contains many plants of lower elevations which are 
invading the alpine zone. 

canadensis. The secondary species in this turf are, in the order of their 

frequency : 

*Gentiana linearis 

Potentilla tridentata 

Vaccinium ccespitosum 

Vaccinium canadense 
* Viola pollens 
*Rubus (trailing species, no flowers 

or fruit) 
*Spircea lati folia 

Ledum grcenlandicum 
Diapensia Lapponica 
Rhododendron Lapponicum 
Eriophorum callithrix 
Lonicera ccerulea 
*Houstonia cocrulea 
Ly co podium Selago 


The occurrence of those species starred in the list, together with Cala- 
magrostis canadensis, which is a dominant plant in the meadow, is another 
illustration of the encroachment of plants normally at home at much lower 
elevations, into the alpine zone. This meadow at 5,250 ft., near the summit 
of Marcy, and with a northeast exposure which subjects it to the winter 
winds from that quarter, sustains a fair percentage of plants that might not 
be expected to survive the rigorous conditions under which typical alpine 
species grow. Calamagrostis canadensis particularly, as the dominant turf 
grass, very luxuriant and fruiting freely in a short growing season to which 

Fig. 19. Looking across Dwarf Birch Meadow, showing incipient cirque character and 
a gulley. Typical pocket of dwarf fir in a depression in foreground. 

its wide distribution at lower elevation would not seem to fit it, is a con- 
spicuous example of what is true of so many other herbs on Mt. Marcy. Of 
course these comparatively lowland, or at least not alpine plants, are not as 
yet completely crowding out the true alpines here, except Calamagrostis 
canadensis, but they form a respectable part of the vegetation, and, sur- 
rounded by a thicket of Betula glandulosa, a true alpine shrub, the inhabi- 
tants of this upland meadow form an interesting study. For, isolated in 
this meadow are enough lowland species, one of them a practically dominant 
grass, to give a distinctly different aspect to the meadow from that of the 



surrounding alpine vegetation. The isolation of these lowland species rela- 
tively so far above timber line, is matched at only one other place observed 
by us, on the southeast side of the mountain. 

This basin, protected from winds, is particularly favorable for animals 
from lower altitudes, when once the snow has melted. The collection of 
invertebrates from this cirque include: the spiders Clubiona, and Pardosa 
nigripalpus Em., a staphylinid beetle Acidota subarinata Er., a bug Clastop- 
tera obtusa (Say), jassids Phil&nus spumarius L., Deltocephalus sayi Fh. 

Fig. 20. Meadow on southeast slope at 5,100 feet, containing many lowland plants 

invading the alpine zone. 

and affinis G. and B., a plant louse, the grasshoppers Podisma glacialis gla- 
cialis Scudd., Melanoplus atlanis Riley and Cammula pellucida Scudd., the 
butterfly Eurymus pholadice Godt., and the ants Formica fusca L. var. algida 
Wheeler, Camponatus herculeanus L. subsp. ligniperda Latr. var. novebora- 
censis Fitch. Specimens of Bombus were seen which were not taken. 
Here we see the upward extension of lowland species as in the case of the 
plants. The jassid Deltocephalus affinis is infested with a Dryinid parasite. 
II. Meadow on Southeast Side of the Mountain at 5,100 Feet. — While 
the dwarf birch meadow shows some examples of the intrusion of low- 
land species through the alpine flora, the meadow on the southeast side 


of the mountain is remarkable for such intrusion. The meadow is about 
300 feet long and 20-40 feet wide, rather steep, and faces south. It is 
northeast of where the trail from Ausable Lakes reaches timber line, and 
near the base of a large landslip slope that leads directly to the summit. 
On the west or mountain side the meadow is faced by a steep rock cliff 
20-30 feet high, with little or no vegetation on it, except in crevices. On 
the lower side the meadow is fringed by fir trees, which are themselves bor- 
dered, toward the center of the meadow, by alder, Alnus alnobetula, a shrub 
not uncommon elsewhere in the alpine zone. A small rivulet comes out 
from the clirl about half way up the meadow, and meanders into a small 
bog-like place scarcely 10 feet square and is then lost by drainage through 
the loose soil and rock which underlie the region (fig. 20). The topography 
suggests that the meadow is covered with deep drifting snow in winter. 

As in the dwarf birch meadow, the dominant, almost exclusive plant, is 
Calamagrostis canadensis which makes a coarse, dense turf. Near the outer 
edges of this turf are patches, or sometimes a fringe of Lonicera ccerula, 
Vaccinium uliginosum or V actinium ccespitosum, Chamco 'daphne calyculata, 
Ledum groculandicum and Spircea latifolia. Scattered through the turf are 
patches of Deschampsia flexuosa and along the edges of the cliff and other 
rocks are fringes of Car ex oligospermia, which is rather uncommon. The 
latter sedge was noted in the bog at Lake Tear, but not elsewhere on the 
mountain. Other plants in this meadow, not arranged in order of frequency 
of occurrence, but with some notes on them, are as follows : 
*Linncea americana 

Oxycoccus Oxycoccus 
*Houstonia cccrulea, also the white flowered form. 
*Cornus canadensis, reddish colored and apparently unhappy. 

So lid ago Cutler i 

* Solid ago macro phylla, common and luxuriant. 
Lycopodium Selago 

^ Clint onia bore alls, not fruiting so freely as below timber line. 
*Gcntiana linearis, common 

Rubns sp. (the same as in dwarf birch meadow, and without flowers or 

Ribes glandulosum 

Potentilla trident at a, perfectly at home along edges of the cliff. 
*V eratrum viride, also scattered all over the summit. 
*Doellingeria umbellata, near the small bog-like center of the meadow. 

Nabulus nanus, also scattered all over the summit. 
*Blephariglottis dilatata, this and the next near the bog-like center of the 

Calamagrostis neglecta, also from Lake Tear, rare here. 

* Viola labradorica, rare and only a few seen. 
*Carex intumescens, rare. 


There are a few scattered patches of shrubbery in the meadow where 
individuals are scarcely 2 feet high, and made up of Amelanchier spicata 
and Viburnum pauciflorum, the latter not before recorded from Mt. Marcy. 

In the list those plants which are starred, as well as Calamagrostis cana- 
densis, Spircca lati folia, Dcschampsia flexuosa, Amelanchier spicata, and 
perhaps Viburnum pauciflorum, are all to be considered as intruders from 
the lowland into a meadow that is well above timber line, and contains a fair 
percentage of alpine plants. This meadow is the most striking example of 
what is more or less true of all the summit of Marcy. Nowhere is the ele- 
vation great enough nor conditions unfavorable enough so that there is not 
this encroachment of lowland species up through the timber line and quite 
over the summit. The small number of true alpine species that are found 
on the mountain, the great scarcity of some of them, the crowding of the 
lowland species amongst them — all these make Mt. Marcy a very favorable 
site to study certain species on the altitudinal edges of their range. With a 
thousand feet greater elevation, the percentage of true alpines would cer- 
tainly be much greater, as it is on Mt. Washington, and there would be 
nothing like the encroachments of lowland species up through the timber 
line. The summit of Mt. Marcy physiographically, and so far as a well 
denned timber line is indicative, has unquestioned alpine vegetation upon 
it. But this is composed of only a relatively small number of alpine plants. 
When the lowland plants, as in the case of Viola labradorica, Solid ago 
macro phylla, Clint onia borealis and many others have a comparatively large 
exposure of leaf-blade and consequently a somewhat high transpiration 
rate, it is remarkable that they, as compared to Ledum and Chamcedaphne 
and Rhododendron Lapponicnm, and other plants well insured against a too 
vigorous transpiration rate should have monopolized so much of the summit 
of Marcy. Bonnier 31 mentions some interesting experiments he has made 
on the influence of an alpine environment upon plants from the lowland. 
The external and internal structure as well as the flowers of lowland plants 
grown at about 8,000 feet elevation became similar to those of alpine plants. 
He also found that the rate at which oxygen is given of! and carbon dioxide 
taken up is two or three times as much in the higher altitude as in the 

This particular meadow is of chief interest as illustrating, because of 
locally favorable conditions, such as the protection from the winds afforded 
by the cliff which borders its western edge, the determined encroachments 
of the lowland species wherever the opportunity for their survival presents 
itself. There are hundreds of locally favorable sites for this encroachment 
on Marcy, such as small ravines, pockets and cracks in the rock, and in 
nearly every one is to be found these lowland species often associated with 

31 Bonnier, Gaston, " Le Monde vegetal," Ernest Flammarion, Paris, 1914. (See 
especially pp. 335-342.) 


a stunted fir or Picea mariana. It seems as if the factors that have made 
the timber line quite definite on the mountain have not created a barrier 
against the upward extension of those species noted as lowland ones. Ex- 
cept at Lake Tear, already discussed, not one case of invasion from above 
downward has been seen by us. 

The collection of animals from this meadow include a daddy-long-legs, 
Mitopus montanus Bks., the spiders, Lepthyphantes and Pardosa luteola 
Em., the grasshoppers, Podisma glacialis glacialis Scudd., M, elan o plus 
atlanis Riley, and Melanoplus luridus Dodge (only specimen taken on the 
mountain), a lygseid bug nymph, the jassid, Deltocephalus sayi Fh., the fly, 
Bibio xanthopus Wied., the bumblebee, Bombus terricola Kby., and the but- 
terfly, Argynnis atlantis Edw. The Bibios were very abundant in the sun, 
hovering about the margin of the stunted trees and over them. A yellow 
butterfly, similar to Eurymus seen in the dwarf birch meadow, was seen but 
not captured. Two large brownish butterflies were seen but were not taken. 
The presence of the subalpine Mitopus here is of interest, illustrating the 
upward extension of a species from lower altitudes as in the case of the 
leaf hoppers, the butterflies, the bees, and the plants already mentioned. 

As a record of what grows on the bare summit of the mountain, the fol- 
lowing list of plants is presented. Most of the species in it were noted by 
Peck in his list in the Adirondack Survey of Colvin, already mentioned, or 
in his later paper in Bulletin 25 of the New York State Museum, 1898. A 
few recorded by him were not found, and some recorded by him we are 
inclined to doubt as inhabitants of the summit at present. A few, in bold- 
faced type, are here reported for the first time from the region. 

Flowering Plants from the Alpine Zone above Timber-line on 

Mt. Marcy 32 

f Abies balsamea (a, b, c) 

Picea mariana 

(Abies nigra of Peck's List) 
*Juniperus communis 

Cinna latifolia (reported by Peck in 1898) 

Cinna abundinacea (reported by Peck in 1898) 

32 Plants marked * are in Peck's lists but either do not grow there now or were 
not seen by us. 

Plants marked t are obvious encroachments from below timber line. Names in 
bold face type were found by us but not reported by Peck. The letters in brackets, 
thus (a, b, c) after the names, show in which zones besides the alpine, each species 
was observed by us: (a)= lower limit of fir forest, 4,250 ft.; (b)=bog at Lake Tear, 
4,320 ft.; and (c)= dwarf fir forest just below timber line, at 4,890 ft. 

In the account of the vegetation of the summit of Marcy, Peck records that 
" about forty years ago the little mess plant, Cassiope hypnoides, was found by Dr. 
Parry growing in a sheltered depression on the summit of Mt. Marcy, but it does not 


*Stipa canadensis 

(S. Richards onii of Peck's List) 
Agrostis borealis 

(Probably A. canina of Peck's List) 
\Calamagrostis canadensis (b) 
*Calamagrostis Pickeringii 
Calamagrostis Langsdorfii (N. L. Britton, 1892) 
Calamagrotis neglect a (b) 
S avast an a alp in a 

(Hierochloe alpina of Peck's List) 
fDeschampsia flexuosa 

(Aira flexuosa of Peck's List) 
Poa laxa 
*Carex scirpoidea. 

*Carex trisperma (reported by Peck in 1898) 
*Carex canescens (reported by Peck in 1898) 

* Car ex brunescens (reported by Peck in 1898) 

* Car ex sterilis (reported by Peck in 1898) 
Carex oligosperma (b) 

* Car ex vitilis (?) 
*Carex concolor 

(C. rigida Bigelovii of Peck's List) 
fCarex intumescens (a) 

* Car ex pauperculaf 

(c. irrigua of Peck's List) 
Scirpus ccespitosus 
Eriophorum callithrix 

(E. vaginatum of Peck's List) 
Juncoides parviflorum 

(Luzula parvi flora of Peck's List) 
J uncus trifidus 

* J uncus filiformis (reported by Peck in 1898) 
\V eratrum viride (b) 

appear to have been found there since 1879." Diligent search by us, and by others for 
several years back for this plant has been unsuccessful. Furthermore none of the 
larger herbaria of the country has a specimen of Parry's from here. In fact it was 
on this report that Cassiope hypnoides was admitted to the Adirondacks by the man- 
uals. The bulk of the Parry Herbarium is now at Iowa State College and Dr. L. H. 
Pammel writes that " I do not find that there are any specimens of this species from 
Mt. Marcy in it." In the herbarium of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sci- 
ences there is a specimen from " The Adirondack Mts." New York. Coll. J. V. H. 
MD. Date: July 1879. This specimen is from the herbarium of and appears to be 
collected by Joseph V. Haberer, a physician of Saquoit, N. Y. Dr. Haberer writes 
that his specimen of Cassiope hypnoides was collected on Panther Mountain and is in 
the herbarium of Hamilton College. 


^Unifolium canadense (b) 

-fClintonia borealis (a, c) 

'fStreptopus ample 'xifolius 

*Streptopus roseus (reported by Peck in 1898) 

\Blephariglottis dilatata 

(Habenaria dilatata of Peck's List) 
Salix Uva-Ursi 

(S. Cutleri of Peck's List) 
Betula glandulosa 
\Betula papyrifera (a, b, c) 
Alnus alnobetula 

(A. viridis of Peck's List) 
*Alsine borealis (reported by Peck in 1898) 
Ar en aria grcenlandica 
Coptis trifolia (a, b) 
f Thalictrum polygamum 
Ribes glandulosum (a) 
^Spricea latifolia (b) 

(S. salicifolia of Peck's List) 
"\Rubus strigosus (a) 
*Rubus americanus (reported by Peck in 1898) 

Po ten till a trident at a (b) 
"fSorbus scopulina 

(Pyrus americana of Peck's List) 
"fAmelanchier spicata (a) 
f Oxalis Ac eto sella (a, c) 
Empetrum nigrum (b) 
j 'Viola pollens 

(Probably V. blanda of Peck's List) 
f Viola labradorica 
*Epilobium angustif oliitm 
"fCornus canadensis (a, c) 
Rhododendron Lapponicum 
*Kalmia glauca 
Ledum grcenlandicum (b) 

(L. latifolium of Peck's List) 
Chamcedaphne calyculata 

(Cassandra Calyculata of Peck's List) 
^Chiogenes hispidula (a, b, c) 
Vaccinium canadense 

(V. pennsylvanicum of Peck's List) 
Vaccinium cesspit osum (b) 
Vaccinium uliglnosum (b) 


Oxy coccus Oxy coccus (b) 
^Gentian a linearis (b) 

Diapensia Lapponica 
*Melampyrum latifolium 

(M. americanus of Peck's List) 
*Chelone glabra (reported by Peck in 1898) 
*Rhinanthus Crista-galli 
"fHoustonia ccerulea (b) 
-\Linnaa americana (a, b, c) 

(L. bore alls of Peck's List) 

Lonicera ccerulea (b) 
f Viburnum pauciflorum 
"fTrientalis americana (b) 
f Doellingeria umbellata 

Solid ago Cutleri 

(S. virgaurea alpina of Peck's List) 
"\Solidago macro phylla (a, c) 

(S, thyrsoidea of Peck's List) 

Nabulus nanus 
*Nabulus Bootii (reported by Peck in 1898) 

Of the 80 species in this list, 21 reported by Peck may have disappeared 
or at least were not seen by us, and 7 rather conspicuous plants, which such 
a careful botanist could scarcely have missed, have apparently come into the 
flora. Of these 7 it is significant that 4 are certainly encroachments from 
lower down the mountain, and that the others are not true alpine plants, 
although of northern affinity. 

Taking the mountain top above timber line as a whole, we find that the 
species of lowland affinities that have come up through the upper limit of the 
forest number at least 30, that the true alpines are probably 23 species, 
which leaves about 23 which it is scarcely safe to assign to either group. 
So far as Marcy is concerned, the latter do not occur anywhere else except 
above the timber line, and a few at Lake Tear bog, but in other regions they 
are more generally distributed. Peck reported not more than 16 true alpine 
or subalpine species in 1879 an d our studies indicate only a somewhat 
greater number. This mountain-top, with an alpine aspect, is so then, not 
wholly by virtue of the alpines on it, but by the encroachment of plants from 
the lowland, which in the conditions above timber line, assume quite dif- 
ferent characters from their usual lowland ones; on the other hand the 
alpines have not been found invading the lower elevations. The mixture 
of these two elements and a third make up the flora of the summit. 

The third element is one apparently neither alpine or lowland. So far 
as Marcy is concerned, the plants comprising it occur almost exclusively 
above timber line, and some in the bog at Lake Tear, but in other parts of 


the northeastern states they are bog plants or those of open, rocky places, 
but not necessarily inhabitants of regions above timber line. Among these 
are Calamagrostis neglect a, Car ex oligosperma, Coptis trifolia, Ribes glan- 
dulosum, Ledum groenlandicum, Chmncedaphne calyculata, Vaccinium cana- 
dense, Oxycoccus Oxycoccus, and Lonicera coerulea. These and perhaps a 
few others, while they are common plants on the summit, do not appear to 
have the significance ecologically that the contrasting alpine and lowland 
elements certainly have in the vegetative covering of the summit of Mt. 
Marcy. As to the factors that control the disappearance of well-known 
plants from the summit such as Cassiope and Phleum prat ens e not much 
is known. The latter was found by Peck but not seen again, and he re- 
ported that the orchid Blephariglottis dilatata, originally found there by him 
in 1879, had disappeared. We found it there in fair quantity in at least one 
locality above the timber line but failed to see Phleum pratense. There 
seem to be, in other words, many plants from the lowlands that come out 
over the summit of Marcy, survive a few seasons and then pass away. 

The summit, so far as animals are concerned, may be considered as an 
elevated island of open in a sea of balsam forest. Viewed from above both 
of these openings in the forest, Lake Tear and Marcy, show clearly denned 
concentric zonation ; about the lake this is nearly on the same plane, but on 
the mountain it is on successive elevations. The main animal habitats range 
from the extensive area of stable solid rock, supplemented by a large area 
of unstable loose rock in the avalanche region on the southeastern slope, 
onward through a meadow stage (fig. 16) to the heath or blueberry shrub 
stage, which may be considered the climax of the alpine area. The animals 
which live among the stunted balsam firs of the ravines and protected places 
have already been considered in the section on the dwarf fir forest. The 
three strictly alpine habitats are thus bare rock, meadow and the heath. 
The heath is apparently the main habitat of the invertebrates; the verte- 
brates apparently pay little attention to these minor differences. Local 
conditions have differentiated somewhat the meadow habitat, especially at 
two localities. One is in the cirque on the northeastern slope at about 5,200 
ft., and called the dwarf birch meadow and the other is the grass meadow 
on the southeastern slope at about 5,100 feet, not far from the base of the 
extensive avalanche slope (fig. 19 and fig. 2 in Part I), both of which have 
been described above under separate headings. The dwarf fir trees and 
occasional prostrate black spruce have no doubt characteristic animals asso- 
ciated with them, but this problem was not given special attention. 

Scudder 33 observes that in the White Mountains of New Hampshire the 
three zones, forest, krumholtz and alpine " correspond, in the characteristics 
of their inhabitants, to the Canadian, the Hudsonian, and the sub-arctic or 
Labradorian faunas." 

33 Scudder, S. H., " The Distribution of Insects in New Hampshire," Final Rep. 
Geol. N. Hamp., pp. 331-380, 1874. 


The miscellaneous collections of invertebrates which were taken above 
timber line will be listed first, and later those of special localities or habitats. 
At about 5,100 feet above timber line were taken two spiders, Pardosa musi^ 
cola Em., and Pardosa luteola Em., and the carabid beetle, Platynus supri- 
pennis Say. These spiders are species of which Emerton 34 (p. 144) states, 
" Live on mountain tops down to and below the trees, in bogs in Maine, in 
New Foundland and Labrador/' Other collections from above timber line 
included an ichneumon, Lissonota punctulata (Cress), the grasshopper, 
Melanoplus atlanis Riley, and the fly, Bibio xanthopus Wied., and a spider 
with an egg mass, Pardosa musicola. In a grassy area near the top of the 
mountain two specimens of the grasshopper, Camnula pellucid a Scudd. were 
taken. At about 5,280 feet was secured a pair of copulating wingless green- 
ish alpine grasshoppers, Podisma glacialis glacialis Scudd., the characteristic 
alpine grasshopper of the mountain. This is one of the few invertebrates 
previously recorded from the alpine area. Scudder 35 ('97, p. 100) records 
it from Marcy at 5,400 feet, an elevation greater than that of the mountain ! 
In the White Mountains he records it frequenting the " close branches of 
the dwarf birch, Betula nana [B. glandulosa], and is rarely or never seen 
on the ground." He also records it from Chateaugay Lake, in the Adiron- 
dacks at 2,000 feet. A bumble bee, Bombus terracola Kby., was taken at 
about 5,000 feet. A specimen of the horntail, Urocerus albicornis Fab., was 
taken near the top of the mountain in a grassy area, where it had probably 
flown from some patch of dwarf forest. 

Two series of collections from among the heath plants are worthy of 
special mention. At about 4,900 feet among the heath plants, V actinium, 
Ledum, and others, in the vicinity and above Field Station d, the following 
were collected : the spiders, Pardosa luteola Em. and Pardosa diffusa Em., 
Pardosa uncata Thor., the grasshoppers, Chorthippus curtipennis Harr., 
Camnula pellucia Scudd., Podisma glacialis glacialis Scudd., Melanoplus 
atlanis Riley, a tachinid fly, Peleteria prompt a Meig., a syrphid fly, Syrphus 
torvus O. S. and two ichneumons, Ambly teles funestus (Crees) and A. pec- 
tifrons Cress, and the butterfly, Polygonia fdunus Edw. At about 5,300 
feet among blueberries and Cladonia the spiders, Pardosa ulteola Em. and 
Pardosa musicola Em., a daddy-long-legs, Mitopus montanus Bks., the 
greenish wingless grasshopper, Podisma glacialis glacialis Scudd., the grass- 
hoppers, Melanoplus atlanis Riley and Camnula pellucida Scudd., the bug, 
Mabis ferus Linn., two jassids, Deltocephalus sayi Fh. and affinis G. and B., 
a beetle, Lebia ornata Say (var.), the cerambycid beetle, Leptura canadensis 

34 Emerton, J. H., " Geographical Distribution of Spiders in New England," Ap- 
palachia, Vol. 13, pp. 143-159, 1914. 

35 Scudder, S. H., " Revision of the Orthopteran Group Melanopli (Acridiidse) 
With Special Reference to North American Forms," Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., Vol. 20, 
pp. 1-421, 1897; "The Alpine Orthoptera of North America," Appalachia, Vol. 8, 
pp. 1-21, 1898. 


Fab. (the larva feeds on spruce), Coccinella transver so guttata Fab., a fly, 
Bibio xanthopus Wied., an ichneumon, Pezomachus, and an ant, Formica 
sanguinea Lats., aserva Forel. The presence of Mitopus above timber line, 
and also at our camp in the forest is worthy of mention. This phalangid 
was first recorded from the White Mountains. Mr. Nathan Banks, the 
author of the species, writes in a letter, " I have since seen it from Maine, 
several from Province of Quebec (about central part), and Nova Scotia, 
now yours from Mt. Marcy. Nothing is known of its habits, except that 
it is sub-alpine." And we may now also add alpine. It was also taken in 
the grassy meadow on the southeastern slope. It is probably, in the alpine 
area, mainly an inhabitant of the stunted balsam. The specimen of Delto- 
cephalus affinis is parasitized by a Dryinid. 

In summarizing the alpine invertebrates we observe that very little is 
known about certain species, so that no generalization can be based upon 
them. Others are well-known species of extensive geographic range and 
in no way peculiar or restricted to these mountain conditions. A few spe- 
cies are in this region mainly restricted to these alpine or bog openings. 
Faunistically these are the following : spiders, Pardosa musicola Em., Par- 
dosa luteola Em., Pardosa uncata Thor., Lycosa albohastata Em., and the 
alpine grasshopper, Podisma glacialis glacialis Scudd. 

If, however, we group these alpine species ecologically, as an alpine asso- 
ciation, we may include not only the preceding species but also the follow- 
ing: Melanophus atlanis Riley, Melanophus Femur-rubrum DeG., Camnula 
pellucida Scudd., Bombus terricola Kby., Bombus fervidus Fab. As a 
marginal form, between the forest and the alpine open, is the fly, Bibio xan- 
thopus Wied. Further studies should increase the number of species as 
well as a knowledge of their status in such conditions. 

Special attention is called to the fact that the greatest lack in our knowl- 
edge of these alpine animals is of their life histories, the detailed relations 
to their environment, and the relation of these animals to one another — 
their community relations. 

No evidence of permanent residents among vertebrate life were found 
by us in the alpine area, but some birds visit the region. A junco was seen 
near the summit, and Eaton ('10, p. 47) says that juncoes visit the top to 
feed on lunches left by tourists. At one time several barn swallows (Hi- 
rundo erythrog astro) flew over, showing no tendency to linger, and their 
presence was probably not due to any conditions at the mountain top. Col- 
vin (loc. cit., p. 95) reports seeing hundreds of snow buntings, Plcctro- 
phenax nivalis nivalis, near the top in winter, and saw two eagles, very prob- 
ably bald eagles, Haliceetus leucocephalus leucocephalus, fly up from near 
the mountain top. Eaton (loc. cit., p. 44) notes one flying over Haystack 

Mr. C. F. Batchelder in a letter states that he found four species of 


mammals on this barren peak region. These were : Red-backed mouse, 
Evotomys gap peri gapperi (Vigors), white-footed mouse, Peromyscus mani- 
culatus gracilis Le Conte, masked shrew, Sorex personatus personatus Geof- 
frey, and the big-tailed shrew, Sorex dispar Batchelder (Batchelder, '96, p. 
133 and 'u). The latter was taken here in a rock crevice at an altitude of 
5,300 feet. 

Colvin (loc. cit., p. 368) observed a fisher, Martes pennanti pennanti 
Erxleben, on Mount Marcy in the winter and shows how this animal might 
frequent this region even in winter when he tells of their speeding out on 
icy rocks, and passing safely across glary surfaces of avalanche-swept 
mountain sides, when pursued by dogs. 

(To be concluded) 

Part III will contain the remainder of the paper, including a map and 
discussion of tree distribution in relation to exposure, data on the rate of tree 
growth above and below timber line, an analysis of the vegetation in accord- 
ance with Raunkiaer's growth forms, and a summary.